A wee bag

drawstring bag
A wee bag for Little Miss. She needs a waterproof bag to bring home sodden “worn” outfits in, from time to time. Parents of potty-trained toddlers will know exactly what I mean…

There’s about a billion great tutorials for drawstring bags out there on tinternet – all pretty similar, but this one from Purl Bee is beautifully clear and well laid out. I used the tried and trusted John Lewis shower curtain fabric (approx £7 per metre).

Drawstrings - shoe laces

The drawstrings are “Fashion Shoelaces” from Poundland (£1 for four pairs – bargain!). I wonder when she’ll notice she has skull & crossbones drawstrings?


Jump to the beat

Sewing soundtrack: Stacy Lattisaw’s Jump to the beat! If I could have sewed wearing roller skates, I surely would have.

Hubby’s I ♥NY t-shirt has had a bit of a rough time over the years, sad to say – pale pink splodges and shrinkage, so off into the refashion pile it goes. Flush from the success of the Poppy Playsuit (she wears it!), I rustle up this number for Little Miss in a couple of hours.

This needs just one adult size tshirt. Cut it out like this – I used guesswork, a pair of shorts and a tshirt to get the proportions about right. It’s supposed to fit loose, so precision not necessary. First sew on the pockets. The pockets are made from the sleeves, so have a pre-finished hem. Gather the tops of the pockets by running a length of shirring elastic through the hem, and gather the bottoms of the pockets with a long running stitch.

NY jumpsuit pocket closeupNext sew the leg seams and crotch/centre front seam. I serged it. Easy-peasy. Then finish the underarm edge by folding a 4mm hem (twice) and multi-stitch zig-zagging it – this is the bit that was the original t-shirt’s neckline.

NY jumpsuit underarm detailLastly, fold over about 5cm at the top neck edge, and multi-stitch-zig-zag that too. This creates the channel to feed the ties through.

NY jumpsuit strap channelYou can use ribbon, jersey scraps or anything else that works for you – I used the sleeve of another old tshirt and made these tapered tubes.

NY jumpsuit straps

I left a gap in the stitching about halfway along the long edge so I could turn the tube inside out. After feeding the ties through, I secure them with a few straight stitches at the front/back centre seam.

DONE. And she wears it. I couldn’t get Little Miss to jump to the beat so we rocked down the street instead! Happy days!

NY jumpsuit in action

Self drafted bean bag seat

bean bag seat with friends

Had been thinking about a beanbag seat for Marina for some time, and mentioned it to a friend. Who, the next day, texted to say she’d seen one in a local charity shop window. FIVE pounds! Dashed over there the next morning and lugged it back home on the back of the buggy. It’s clean, a great shape – a bit like a bell – and more to the point, Marina sits in it. As do her friends :)

bean bag seat

So I just made a straight copy of the cover. It’s basically a rectangle, with a curve at the corners, and two deep darts from the middle to the top, attached to a circular bottom with a zip across the middle. And a wide fabric handle – another rectangle. I wrote out the measurements – you could easily make your own. No need to mark it up on paper – just do it straight onto the fabric.

bean bag seat pattern

Mini-tutorial: cut 2 body pieces (88cm x 110), 1 bottom (69cm diameter), 1 handle (50cm x 20cm). Find 60-65cm zip.

  1. sew two deep darts as indicated, overlock or zigzag edges. Trim excess and press darts.
  2. fold handle along long edge, right sides together and stitch along long edge, 1 cm from raw edge. Turn and press, keeping seam at edge (or centre if you prefer it to be hidden)
  3. fold handle in half, matching raw edges, and pin to right side of centre top ‘body’, between darts.
  4. pin front and back ‘body’ together and sew along side, around curve, over the top and back down to the other side.
  5. cut bottom in half through the middle and insert zip along cut edge
  6. attach bottom to body, clipping as needed.

Now THAT’S satisfying sewing. It wasn’t exactly a whip-up – I think it took about three hours, what with pattern matching and a broken needle or two, and a funny turn where I realised how very hungry I was.

bean bag seat handle

But, this fabulous IKEA fabric by Cilla Ramnek (2008) is pretty impactful and seeing the whole thing coming together was deeply, deeply satisfying. I love that the fabric credits the designer – it’s worth keeping this in the finished item, I think. Anyway, back to completion jubilation – I used something out of the stash! Hoo-bloody-rah-for-me.

Publishing now – will try to pose daughter in seat over weekend. Don’t hold your breath…

And that very evening, Marina graces the bean bag seat with her seat. Hurray!

I haz a ambition for a dress

This idea for has been knocking about my head for a little while now. I scored some houndstooth cotton for thruppence ha’penny on a charity-shop crawl up north this summer. So today I’m taking advantage of the early morning quiet to commit some of it to pixels and see if I can work out how to bring it to life.


As sqwibbled out on a scrap of magazine during daily commute, dress ambition in all its glory:

1. take one top…like Vogue 8392

2. change sleeves to something less vanilla [perhaps a cap sleeve like Vogue 2538, or a kimono or raglan sleeve?  I see pattern-drafting ahead]

3. try out a perky collar or sort of funnel neck [like wot the uncomfortable-looking gal is sporting in the photo?]




4. one skirt, balloony in shape, for example, Vogue 8328 and

5. raise the waistline to empire line level,

6. lengthen the skirt in the middle third [so it doesn’t interfere with the way the folds go in at the bottom, nor the pleats at the top],

7. replace the pleats at the top front with a single inverted pleat/gathers,

8. move the zip to the side,

9. insert two sashes in the side seam to tie at the front/back,

10. add pockets [you still with me?],

then take deep breath and finally…

11. …line it.

Ha – dress ambition is ambitious!  All this from 2 yards x 60″ wide. Gulp.

Houndstooth cotton

Oh and did I mention a deadline? By 9.00am Tues 5 Jan. One thing at a time: a muslin.

and all this alongside tackling a top-to-toe home spring clean in daily chunks, preventing the cat ingesting too much tinsel and wrapping paper, watching movies, entertaining eagerly-anticipated 4-day house guests*, and a gazillion other things which suddenly jostle my consciousness for attention and a place in the queue. Good grief! I love Christmas holidays. Such promise.

*One of whom is an expert pattern cutter. Hehe. You see what I’m doing? It’s all coming together in a highly complicated plan…

Culottes de Nîmes


These culottes have been top of the UFO pile for a  l—o—o—n—g time – I must have bought this fabric and pattern in 2003?  So, I bite the bullet and try them on.

Thankfully, my six-year-old seam allowances are generous and so body changes can be accommodated. But small moment of horror – the waistband barely grazes my hipbones and there’s MAJOR belly exposure. What was I thinking? Very long tops? Acres of toned abs? And how exactly was I thinking to work the super-preppy culottes/belly-flashing look?

I can’t make this add up, so re-read of the instructions. This reveals my error, and, possibly, the reason I abandoned this project.  It’s a curved yoke that I’d pinned in place UPSIDE-DOWN – not a waistband. Even my slimmer 2003 self didn’t have the nuts to carry this style off. Those two extra inches coverage haul this garment back into the respectable, wearable and finishable. So I crack on.

It was a pleasant surprise to go back to my previous work and see I’d been carefully finishing edges with a wee fold held in place with a zigzag stitch (obviously well before I got my mitts on an overlocker). So I’m inspired to continue with nice careful finishing and…

bias bind the yoke facing in contrasting red satin and

bias bind the leg hems too (as inspired by darling petunia’s pretty finishing).

The lightweight stretch denim fabric came from the most excellent A1 Fabrics in Goldhawk Road. Very affordable, as I remember (£2-4 per metre), and the bias binding was from the stash.  Pattern, Vogue Couture 2755. 

It’s a lovely pattern – really easy to follow and a nice flattering line.  Just pay attention at the attaching-curved-yoke bit!

PS I used a stiffer fabric that Vogue recommends, so when you sit down, then stand up again, the pleats disappear and the legs balloon out in a comedy/Tintin stylee. So I’ve re-angled the pleats so they make a diagonal line (not straight) from the stitching down to the hemline. I put some tiny stitches on the inside of the hem to make pressing the pleats in place easier in future. Squint and you can see this in the hem-displaying picture.

About me

I started this blog to help me Get Things Done: sewing and knitting mostly.
But now I have a daughter! So I continue to daydream in enormous detail about what I'd like to make, but squeeze the 'doing' into precious naptimes and evenings.

Can I keep it up? Time will tell!

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